The PGL Open Bucharest Minor may not be a Major, but there was a major crowning moment in Romania on Sunday morning. That’s because Chai "Mushi" Yee Fung, Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang and the rest of Mineski were coronated as the new kings of Southeast Asian Dota.
For the second week in a row, Mineski made it to the finals of a Valve-sanctioned tournament but while they came up just shy against Team Liquid at StarLadder, this time they took home the trophy by defeating LGD Gaming.
While there were some cracks on display last week, Mineski played much tighter on Sunday and posted victories over stiff competition. The team amassed a 4-1 record in the group stage, besting Na’Vi and Evil Geniuses. That earned them a spot in the playoffs, where they defeated Immortals before utterly cruising through LGD Gaming.
It was a roundly excellent performance that firmly establishes Mineski as the team to beat in SEA...for now.
This may have been a big moment for the team but the next two tournaments will be Mineski-free. Fnatic will be attending both ESL One Hamburg (replacing Happy Feet, who withdrew after qualifying due to visa issues) while Mineski mysteriously withdrew from November’s Dota PIT League for “family reasons.”
Couple that with the new patch looming on the horizon and it’s easy to wonder how long the squad stays on top. But make no mistake, right now, that’s exactly where they are.
South America’s Struggles Continue
Mineski might be holding things down for their half of the southern hemisphere, but the other half isn’t doing so great.
South American Dota 2 was put into a sink-or-swim position with the introduction of the Dota Pro Circuit, which forced tournament organizers to host a SA qualifier in order to be sanctioned by Valve. To this point, they’re sinking. Fast.
At PGL Open Bucharest, Infamous was the first team to wash out of the event, going 0-2 in their group stage series (0-4 in their games) opposite Team Secret and LGD Gaming. It was the second time in as many tournaments that the South American representative failed to make it through the group stages, with SG E-Sports going 1-2 in groups at StarLadder last week.
This latest flop comes on the heels of the sudden breakup of Digital Chaos’ South American sister team, whose disbandment opened the door for Infamous to compete in Bucharest. The loss of DC.SA makes an already thin region even thinner, and raises further questions about whether the region should have been split off from North America in the first place.
Dota Pro Circuit Standings After PGL Open Bucharest
Above are the standings in the Dota Pro Circuit following PGL Open Bucharest, courtesy of Liquipedia’s DPC page. As the only team to earn points in both Dota 2 Minors so far, Mineski enjoys first-place at this time, stepping ahead of last week’s minor winner, Team Liquid.
Worth noting is the strange number of points for LGD Gaming. While a second-place in Bucharest should have yielded them 90 qualifying points, they only received 67.5. This was due to the withdrawal of their support player, Chen "Victoria" Guanhong, from the tournament due to illness.
Because they played in the tournament with a substitute, the remaining LGD players received just 75% of their qualifying points. The substitute, Yao "QQQ" Yi, received half of the 90 QP for himself, which he will take to whichever team he may happen to sign with this season.
While this may seem like a one-off problem, this is worth remembering as the season progresses. Chinese and Southeast Asian players are frequently grappling with visa issues and that will result in many, many substitutions at Dota 2 tournaments. If these issues arise for the same team frequently enough, it could result in some unexpected things as The International 2018 approaches.
North America Looking Strong, But Shaky
The state of North American Dota was a subject of much debate following TI7. The disbanding of Team NP and Planet Odd alongside the shakeups to compLexity Gaming, Digital Chaos, and Team Freedom left the region with just one proven contender. And when that one contender, Evil Geniuses, posted an ugly 9th-12th place finish at the tournament, many ran to press the panic button.
In the months since, many of those fears have been assuaged as the qualifiers for each Major and Minor tournament have been incredibly competitive. PGL’s Dota 2 Minor, however, showed that while things are good...they’re not perfect.
Two NA teams competed in Bucharest--EG and Immortals--with both taking home third-place finishes and the 30 QP and the $30,000 checks that came with it. By any metric, it was a decent showing by the region...but it wasn’t actually anything more than “decent.”
Both teams took second place in their groups with 2-1 records, and both washed out in the first round of the playoffs. Along the way, they took frequent losses and were on the bad end of some hard sweeps, too, with IMT’s total record at the tournament standing at 6-5 while EG’s settled in at 4-5. While North America now has three different teams in possession of qualifying points, none have looked like true buzzsaws against elite competition.
Yes, North America looks more competitive than ever, with four different organizations qualifying for tournaments at this point. That said, it remains to be seen if any of them have what it takes to bring home the gold.
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